Getting to know Steve Coppins

In this latest interview in the Spotlight series with the Fixfast management team, we feature Steve Coppins – Head of Customer Service, who explains how Fixfast has built a reputation for great customer interaction.

What’s your role at Fixfast?

I head up the Customer Services team. We’re a dedicated group of 14 people with a clear purpose: to provide simple, honest, on-time quality service. Essentially, our job is to ensure customers only ever want to come to Fixfast for their fasteners.

As you’ve heard other members of the management team explain in this Spotlight series, delivering excellent customer service is something our whole organisation sees as fundamental. In fact, some of our best customer service initiatives have originated from ideas put forward by colleagues in other departments.

So what is the Fixfast approach to customer service?

We think about the three stages of the customer experience: before, during and after placing an order with us. At each stage, our objective is for customers to feel absolute confidence in the products and service they’re getting from Fixfast – and to make it easy to work with us. Hence our ‘Maximum Reliability, Minimum Fuss’ brand promise.

Before a customer places an order, our aim is to give them everything they need to select the right product for their application. With increased scrutiny on the correct specification and installation of construction products, it’s our role as a leading product manufacturer to provide the information and guidance customers need to specify with confidence. Customers can find datasheets and other technical information on our new website.

I think the strength and depth of our in-house technical team sets us apart too. The team typically responds to queries within a couple of hours, and offers calculation and testing services to customers that need more help.

We’ve invested to make ordering with us faster and easier. Last year we completely rebuilt our website, adding new functionality that puts the best of Fixfast at customers’ fingertips. They can now download technical information, track their orders and deliveries, and even set company permissions according to job role.

We’ll never forget that, sometimes, customers just want to pick up the phone and speak to a member of the team. That’s why we have a large, product-literate customer services team available via freephone during construction site hours, five days a week.

The third stage in the customer journey is just as important; order fulfilment and aftercare. A happy customer is one that gets the product they need, when they need it. That’s why we commit to having 98% of our stock products available for next day delivery, a 96% delivery success rate with our couriers, and 99% order accuracy.

How does being a customer-centric business impact your set-up?

Staying close to customers has been key to Fixfast’s approach since the company was founded almost 50 years ago. This means keeping lines of access open for customers and being ready to respond with speed and accuracy.

The volume of enquiries being managed is huge. On average, we’re dealing with around 500 customer enquiries every day – whether that’s via email, phone or our Live Chat website service.

In terms of emails alone, the team responded to 66,000 incoming customer emails in 2023. With these spanning everything from quote requests and order placements, to technical or delivery queries, our Customer Services team needs to be constantly at the top of its game.

We do that by setting ourselves a strict target of successfully fulfilling these requests, within the timeframe set out in our Service Level Agreements, at least 95% of the time. Last year we hit 99%, but still reviewed what we could have done better with the remaining 1%.

The team is set up to work extremely efficiently, with different people responsible for managing different types of customer needs. For example, we have a dedicated delivery query team who, based on real-time alerts from our couriers, can manage issues with customers before they arise.

How are you measuring success?

As I mentioned, we track our response rates and delivery success. These are important metrics that guide the way we work as a team. We also keep a very close eye on our Net Promoter Score – which is a standardised measure of how likely people are to recommend you to others. We averaged a score of 77 in 2023. While this would be deemed exceptional for any industry, we remain focused on how we can do even better.

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